Minerals for Anxiety: Zinc, Selenium, & Potassium

In response to a variety of questions I have received, I will be discussing some potential minerals for anxiety.

Is zinc a mineral for anxiety?

Zinc is an essential mineral naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement.Why is zinc important?

A daily intake of zinc is required to maintain a steady state because the body has no specialized storage system for zinc. Also, zinc is found highly concentrated in the brain – second only to iron. It is essential for nervous system health and zinc deficiencies have been correlated with immune and nervous system abnormalities.

I reviewed NaturalNews.com and ScienceDaily.com and read about a collaborative project between Duke University Medical Center researchers and chemists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They were able to watch zinc in action as it regulates communication between neurons in the hippocampus, where learning and memory processes occur — and where disrupted communication may contribute to epilepsy.

“We discovered that zinc is essential to control the efficiency of communication between two critical populations of nerve cells in the hippocampus,” said James McNamara, M.D., senior author and chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Duke. “This addresses a longstanding controversy in the field.”

What about Selium?

Selenium is found in many plant foods, as well as some meats, seafood and nuts. Brazil nuts contain relatively high amounts of selenium so a handful of these each day can be helpful.
I wanted to dig a little deeper so I visited website of Web MD. It’s important what they say. When looking at the American population very few must take extra selenium because adequate amounts can be accessed from one’s dietary intake.

“Selenium is a naturally occurring trace mineral that is vital to good health. Low selenium has been linked to an increased risk of death and poor brain and immune function.”

But Dr. Raymond F. Burk, MD, a professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee indicates “There is no evidence that selenium supplementation of the U.S. population would be helpful”


Potassium is used in neural transmission. Potassium is found in bananas, citrus juices (e.g. orange juice), avocados, cantaloupes, tomatoes, potatoes, lima beans, flounder, salmon, cod, chicken, and other meats.
One could reason that increasing their potassium intake may help improve mood and alleviate irritability and anxiety. However according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, most people get all of the required intake of potassium through their regular diet.


Magnesium helps to sustain nerve function.

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health “Green vegetables such as spinach are good sources of magnesium because the center of the chlorophyll molecule (which gives green vegetables their color) contains magnesium. Some legumes (beans and peas), nuts and seeds, and whole, unrefined grains are also good sources of magnesium.”

It also states:
“Even though dietary surveys suggest that many Americans do not get recommended amounts of magnesium, symptoms of magnesium deficiency are rarely seen in the US. However, there is concern that many people may not have enough body stores of magnesium because dietary intake may not be high enough.”

“Data from the 1999–2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey suggest that substantial numbers of adults in the United States (US) fail to get recommended amounts of magnesium in their diets.”

So what is my take about using minerals for anxiety?

You might consider taking a good multi vitamin and mineral supplement and can certainly discuss this with your doctor. However you would do well to look at evidence based practices for anxiety. That’s exactly what I provide in my free newsletter…

I will show you how to partake in an-all-encompassing approach to anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia.

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References (Minerals for Anxiety)

1. Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health. Dietary Supplement Fact Sheet: Magnesium. Retrieved November 24, 2012, from: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/

2. Phillip, J. (2001, September 29). Zinc found critical within the brain to improve memory and cognition. Retrieved November 24, 2012, from NaturalNews.com website: http://www.naturalnews.com/033722_zinc_memory.html

3. ScienceDaily.com. (2011, September 21). Zinc Regulates Communication Between Brain Cells Retrieved November 23, 2012, from: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921132334.htm

4. University of Maryland Medical Center. Potassium. Retrieved November 22, 2012, from:

5. Goodman, B. (2012, February 28). Most Americans Don’t Need Extra Selenium
Retrieved November 25, 2012, from WebMD website: